MUNCIE, IN—The Ball State men's basketball team saw its 2009-10 season come to an end Sunday afternoon with an 85-77 overtime setback to Ohio in the first round of the 2010 FirstEnergy Mid-American Conference Tournament at Worthen Arena.
The Cardinals end the year with a 15-15 overall record. Ball State was making its 29th appearance all-time in the MAC Tournament and falls to 36-23 all-time in tournament history.
Ohio rallied from a 10-point second half deficit to force overtime and the Bobcats out-scored the Cardinals 16-8 in the extra frame. With the win, the No. 9 seed Bobcats (18-14) advance to play No. 1 seed Kent State (23-8) in the 7 p.m. MAC Tournament Quarterfinal match at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.
This is certainly a disappointing end to the season for us," head coach Billy Taylor said. "We failed to meet the goals and objectives that we set at the beginning of the year. We are all very disappointed in our outcome. Our seniors gave us great effort all year and both Terrence (Watson) and Brawley (Chisholm) have been great for our program."
Sophomore guard Randy Davis (Plymouth, Ind./Plymouth) capped his All-Conference caliber season off with another stellar effort as he scored a team-high 21 points. Davis hit four three-pointers and was 7-of-8 from the free throw line in the loss, while handing out five assists and only committing one turnover against the Ohio pressure. He finishes the year as the Cardinals' second-leading scorer with 308 points and scored in double figures in 11 of the last 12 games to close out the season.
Randy has grown tremendously this year from where he was a freshman to where he is now," Taylor said. "Last year was tough on him as everyone put a lot of pressure on him as a freshman. He showed great character in staying positive and working hard every day to get himself ready for this year. He has been huge for our team all year and certainly carried us through the MAC season."
Ball State came out of the gate quickly as it posted an early 9-2 run to take a 10-4 lead just under five minutes into the game. Davis highlighted the early attack as he scored five straight points.
Ohio responded with a 9-2 run of its own to take a 13-12 lead. The Cardinals did not wilt under the pressure though, as it posted a 10-0 run to take a 22-13 lead with 8:08 left in the opening half. Senior forward Terrence Watson (Detroit, Mich./Univ. of Mississippi) scored four straight points in the run, while Davis capped the stretch with a driving layup.
The Bobcats kept shooting and posted a 10-3 run to narrow the gap to 30-29 with 2:05 left in the half. Asown Sayles hit a three-pointer to cap the run, while Armon Basset posted four points in the spurt. The Cardinals slowed the run heading into the locker room as Davis nailed a three-pointer and freshman guard Myron Green Jr. (Long Beach, Calif./Dominguez) notched a three-pointer as well in the final two minutes as Ball State took a 36-33 lead into the locker room.
Ball State connected on 56.5 percent (13-of-23) from the field and 66.7 percent (6-of-7) from three-point land. Davis led all first half scorers with 13 points, while freshman guard Jauwan Scaife (Muncie, Ind./Muncie Central) added seven points. The Cardinals were forced into eight first half turnovers, but handed out eight assists.
Ohio connected on 38.5 percent (10-of-26) from the field and 33.3 percent (2-of-6) from long range. The Bobcats were strong from the free throw line as they hit all 11 attempts from the stripe. DeVaughn Washington led Ohio with 10 points off the bench, while Bassett added nine points. Freshman of the Year candidate D.J. Cooper was limited to just nine minutes as he picked up three first half fouls.
Ball State came out of the halftime break and posted an early 8-2 run to take a 44-35 lead. Scaife and Davis hit back-to-back three-pointers to extend the lead to nine. Ohio battled back and scored six straight points to pull within three.
The Cardinals again posted a run as they tallied a 10-3 spurt to extend the lead back to double figures at 54-44 with 10:29 left in the half. Watson scored four points in the run, including a highlight reel dunk, while senior guard Brawley Chisholm (Bronx, N.Y./Western Texas College) nailed a key three-pointer to cap the run.
The Bobcats kept battling as they posted a 12-4 run to pull within one at 60-59. Tommy Freeman keyed the run as he hit back-to-back three-pointers. The Cardinals slowed the momentum as they scored five straight, including an old-fashioned three-point play by Watson gave BSU a 65-59 lead.
Ohio posted an 8-2 run to tie the game at 67-67 with 1:44 left in regulation. Sophomore forward Jarrod Jones (Michigan City, Ind./Michigan City) scored in the paint off an inbounds play to give the Cardinals a 69-67 lead with 1:03 left. Bassett was able to tie the game quickly with 54 seconds left a he drove down the paint.
After a missed free throw kept the score tied, the Cardinals got a shot for Jones which came up short giving the ball back to the Bobcats. Cooper was fouled on the ensuing possession, but he missed both free throws setting up the Cardinals' final chance in regulation. Davis was able to get off a deep contested shot just before the buzzer sounded but it rolled off the rim and the game went into overtime.
Ball State struck first to open the overtime period as Jones nailed 15-foot jumper to put BSU in front 71-69. The Bobcats responded with a 6-1 run, including three points from Kenneth van Kempen. Davis again hit a big shot for the Cardinals as he came down and connected on a deep three-pointer to narrow the gap to one at 76-75 with 2:15 left.
Ohio answered right back as Freeman nailed his fifth three-pointer of the night to ignite the Bobcats' 9-2 game-ending run. Ohio hit all six of its free throws in the closing 36 seconds to seal the victory.
Ball State finished the game shooting 46.8 percent (29-of-62) from the field and 50 percent (8-of-16) from three-point land in the loss. The Cardinals handed out a season-high 20 assists in the loss with two players, Davis and Pierre Sneed (Chicago, Ill./Simeon), each ending with five assists.
Scaife finished the night with 17 points as he was 7-of-11 from the field, including a pair of three-pointers. He finishes his freshman season with 305 points, which ranks sixth highest for a freshman in Ball State history. Watson returned from his one-game suspension and scored 14 points, grabbed six rebounds, handed out four assists and notched two steals. Jones chipped in 12 points to round out the Cardinals' double figure scorers.
Ohio finished the game hitting 46.3 percent (25-of-54) from the field and 47.1 percent (8-of-17) from three-point land. The Bobcats were strong from the free throw line in the victory as they hit 79.4 percent (27-of-34), including 18-of-23 combined from Bassett and Cooper. Basset ended the afternoon with a game-high 25 points while Cooper scored 12 points, grabbed nine rebounds and handed out eight assists.
Ball State finishes the season with 15 victories on the year, marking the most wins for the Cardinals since the 2004-05 campaign.